This weblog is an online protest of Croatian patriots against the current Croatian government under the leadership of Dr. Ivo Sanader and Stipe Mesic who, in the name of democracy, wage a fruitless war against Croatian “fascists” by using the same fascist methods: police repression, destruction of monuments (Budak & Francetic), glorifying Tito’s butchers and curtailing the freedom of media.

subota, rujna 25, 2004

MARIO JAREB: The Development and Activities of the Ustasha Movement from its beginnings to April of 1941

Mario Jareb received his Ph. D. in history from the University of Zagreb in May 2003. The title of his dissertation is "Razvoj i djelovanje Ustakog pokreta od nastanka do travnja 1941. godine/The Development and Activities of the Ustasha Movement from its beginnings to April of 1941". Its publication is expected in the near future. Here is a summary of Jareb’s dissertation:

The author is dealing with the history of the Ustasha Movement before 1941. Emergence of that movement is closely related to tragic events in Croatia in 1928, and particularly to the introduction of King Alexander's royal dictatorship in January 1929. The Yugoslav regime had extensively used violence and even terrorist methods to suppress and annihilate all political opponents. This is why many Croats at that time were deeply convinced that only armed struggle against the regime would be the appropriate way to get back Croatian national rights and to gain a free Croatian state.

Dr. Ante Pavelic, a prominent politician of the Croatian Party of Rights, was one among those who advocated armed struggle and the destruction of the Yugoslav state. Soon after he had left the country; in January 1929 he started to work on the foundation of an organization that would fight the Yugoslav royal dictatorial regime. Pavelic's ultimate goal was to destroy the Yugoslav state and to establish an independent Croatian state. The center of his activities after mid-1929 became Italy. In the spring of 1930 there already existed the "Ustasha" - Croatian Revolutionary Organization (UCRO). The new organization was a paramilitary one, established in Italy as a military unit that lived under strict military rules in its own Ustasha military camps.

In 1931 and 1932 the Ustasha organization intensified its activities in order to destabilize the Yugoslav regime and to prepare ground for a large-scale uprising in Croatia. The Ustashas used terrorist methods, such as the bombings and assassinations of Yugoslav political representatives. At the same time, the regime continued to use violence and terrorist methods against all political opponents in Croatia. Therefore, it is possible to say that both sides used violence and terror to gain their political goals.

Ustasha activities had reached a peak in October 1934 when king Alexander was assassinated in Marseille at the beginning of his state visit to France. Although the assassin was a member of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), it was obvious that the assassination was organized by the Ustasha organization. The reactions of the French, Yugoslav, as well as other European governments forced Ustashas to cease their activities all over Europe. Such a reaction even forced the Italian authorities to put open Ustasha activities to an end. Therefore, the entire Ustasha group in Italy had been transferred to the distant Lipari islands and confined there by the spring of 1937. Ante Pavelić was imprisoned in Turin from late 1934 to the spring of 1936. In the spring 1937 the Ustashas were removed from the Lipari. Still, they were not allowed to renew their previous military and political activities. Some were allowed to return to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and the others had been split into smaller groups and confined to different parts of Italy.

It is possible to say that from the fall of 1934 to April 1941 the Ustashas in Italy could not develop and perform any substantial activity. Ante Pavelić himself had been released from an Italian prison in the spring of 1936, but soon after the Italian authorities confined him to the town of Siena. Still, he was allowed to develop a very limited political activity. His political activities during that period had reached the peak when he met the Italian foreign minister and Mussolini’s adherent count Galeazzo Ciano. In spite of that, Ustasha activities in Italy, and in other European countries, were very limited and suppressed. That is why some Ustasha authors during WWII referred to the period from 1937 to 1941 as the period of "The Great Ustasha Silence."

From the fall of 1934 to April 1941 Ustasha activities in Croatia, the United Sates, and Argentina were far more interesting and important. Ustasha activities in the US and Argentina were organized within the organizational frames of the Croatian Home Defenders (Hrvatski Domobran). The first Home Defender organization emerged in Argentina already in the spring 1931. Home Defenders in the US had started to organize in mid-1933, and as late as the fall of 1934 they became strong and numerous organization. Organizations in Argentina and in the US continued to work after the assassination in Marseille without any interruption. Argentinean Home Defenders had even managed to survive WWII. Unlike them, the US Home Defenders ceased with their activities in May 1941. When in December 1941 the US had entered WWII, former Home Defenders and their previous activities became suspicious to the US authorities. Therefore, in February 1942, FBI and other institutions had started to investigate these activities, but did not find anything suspicious and hostile.

The Marseille assassination brought the open royal dictatorship to an end. The new regime of Prince Paul, as well as the government of Milan Stojadinović, had to ease political restrictions. They were also forced to allow numerous Croatian public, cultural and political associations to renew their activities. Public and legal Ustasha activities were still not possible, but some of Pavelic's followers began their pro-Ustasha activities within the framework of other Croatian associations. Through the course of time Ustasha elements had prevailed in some of them and transformed them into predominantly Ustasha associations.

During the period from 1935 to 1941 pro-Ustasha elements were very active at the University of Zagreb. It is possible to say that from 1935 to 1937 the core of the Ustasha Movement in Croatia was located at the University. After numerous Ustasha émigrés had returned from Italy in the period from 1937 to 1938, Ustasha activities intensified in general and were not limited primarily to the University. At that time Mile Budak, Croatian novelist and politician, returned to Croatia from exile in Italy as well. Soon thereafter he became a leader of pro-Ustasha elements in Croatia. In the spring of 1939, he started to publish a weekly paper Hrvatski narod (Croatian people), which soon became a leading pro-Ustasha paper in Croatia.

Ustasha elements in Croatia intensified their activities especially after the leading Croatian party - the Croatian Peasant Party (CPP), had concluded an agreement with the Yugoslav regime of Prince Paul in August of 1939. Ustashas were dissatisfied with the agreement (they treated it as a treason of Croatian national interests), and the CPP leaders became the main targets of their attacks. On the other hand some Ustasha elements had successfully infiltrated the authorities of the newly formed autonomous Banate of Croatia, which came into existence after the agreement of August 1939.

The CPP and the new Croatian authorities could not tolerate Ustasha attempts to jeopardize the new Banate and the CPP's newly acquired position. Therefore, they started a wide and decisive campaign that resulted in the numerous imprisonments of Ustasha elements, as well as in the ban of Hrvatski narod in the spring of 1940.

All of that had weakened the Ustashas in Croatia, but many of them remained free and continued with their activities. Finally, they participated in the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia in April 1941.



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